USDA: food safety, market news and other functions will continue

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its food safety and pest and plant disease divisions, along with the Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees multiple specialty crop-related functions, continue to function as the coronavirus COVID-19 spread.

Mindy Brashears, the USDA deputy under secretary for food safety, and Greg Ibach, the agency’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, released a joint statement about the USDA programs that handle functions the fruit and vegetable industry depends on remain staffed during the crisis.

According to the statement, services at these USDA agencies remain in effect:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which oversees quarantines for plant diseases and pests;
Food Safety Inspection Service, which oversees food safety for items including meat, eggs and other proteins, including fresh salads that contain those items; and
Agricultural Marketing Service, which provides market prices and numerous other Market News reports, oversees the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, and marketing and promotion/research orders.

According to the statement, the agencies will use all administrative means and flexibility to address staffing issues and field personnel will work with management and state and local health authorities to “handle situations as they arise.”

“In this time of much uncertainty, we know that many of you have questions about how the department will continue to ensure that grading and inspection personnel are available,” according to statement from Brashears and Ibach. “We have all seen how consumers have reacted to the evolving coronavirus situation and how important access to food is to a sense of safety and well-being.

“It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products,” according to the statement.

For more coronavirus coverage, check out our landing page on the topic here. To provide input on how the virus is affecting your business, take The Packer's survey.

Related stories:

No reason to avoid fresh produce during outbreak

Trump waives hours of service rules for emergency transport of food

Big Idaho Potato Truck season suspended during outbreak

  Pro Farmer Policy Analyst Jim Wiesemeyer give details of CFAP signup on Farm Journal Live. Watch in the player above. President Donald Trump and USDA released the long-awaited rules for direct pa

USDA announced the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:    $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and

President Donald Trump several times over the past week has indicated some $16 billion of COVID-19 farmer aid would be announced soon. Additionally, Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer says there is funding

Produce is being left in the field. Dairy farmers have nowhere to send their milk, and cattle ranchers are hit hard by plummeting beef prices. These are just some of the problems caused by the coronav

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its food safety and pest and plant disease divisions, along with the Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees multiple specialty crop-related functions, c

Fears of the coronavirus continue to haunt the stock market despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to calm it.The Federal Reserve’s emergency announcement to cut rates to near zero Sunday didn’t

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a department-wide initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture t

The pork industry continues to grapple with the impact of African Swine Fever. From supply to demand, it's an outbreak that could have a lasting effect. “I don’t think people really understand th

As farmers debated the accuracy of planted acres and crop conditions in yesterday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demands Estimates (WASDE) report, livestock producers anxiously watched for changes

A planned relocation of two of USDA research agencies from the D.C. to Kansas City is billed as a cost saver, but it feels more like a way to minimize their work and muzzle their personnel.The recent